COVID-19 limits ways you can cool down this summer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids has limited options available for the public to cool down this year. County officials credit the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, only two cooling centers are available to the public: Mel Trotter Ministries and Heartside Ministry in downtown Grand Rapids. Last year there were more than a dozen available.

“There have been all kind of challenges from COVID-19 as you can imagine. It seems to complicate everything we’re dealing with,” said Lt. Lou Hunt with Kent County Emergency Management.

Hunt says the governor’s executive order does not impact cooling centers, so more than 10 people are allowed inside. However, they must still follow social distancing guidelines.

The county says one of the biggest concerns during heat waves is heat injury. He says it’s not hard to fall victim to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating, dizziness and cold or clammy skin.

The county suggests limiting time in the sun and drinking lots of fluids.

The county also says trapping cool air at night and closing drapes and blinds through the day can keep your home cooler. They say moderate humidity and cooler evening temps could be helpful for those without air conditioning. They say spending more time in the basement can also help.

The virus is impacting city parks too. All three of Grand Rapids’ public pools are closed for the summer. The city will allow splash pads to remain open.

“Many of the risks associated with the pools has to do with those common touch point areas: Locker rooms, lockers, changing areas, showers, diving boards,” said Grand Rapids parks and recreation director David Marquardt.

Marquardt says amenities like water fountains will remain closed at city parks.

The county says there may be more cooling centers available in the coming weeks. They’re warning people to stay out of the sun and remain vigilant and to check on neighbors, pets and elderly.

Cooling center hours of operation:

Heartside Ministry:
Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Mel Trotter Ministries Day Center:
Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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